Deported Veterans Project
ImmDef is one of very few nonprofit organizations providing deportation defense services to deported veterans.
Immigration legal services for deported veterans are incredibly scarce in Southern California, and ImmDef is one of the rare non-profit organizations that regularly provides post-conviction relief assistance to deported veterans. By serving honorably in the military, immigrants are entitled under the law to expedited naturalization, but it does not happen as often as it should. Many do not realize they can still be deported despite putting their life on the line for our country.
Human Rights Watch's 2009 report Forced Apart estimates that 20 percent of those removed due to criminal convictions were longtime legal residents, and most of their crimes were minor, non-violent offenses. When ImmDef launched our Post-Conviction Relief Project in September 2016, it was the first of its kind in Southern California.
In 2020 ImmDef initiated the Deported Veterans Project to as a sustainable model of representation for this incredibly underserved community. Our goal is to expand organizational capacity, provide legal and post-conviction relief services to veteran immigrants, collaborate with other providers to expand our services and reach, and identify and share best practices with the State of California to develop and expand these efforts state-wide.